Monday, April 6, 2009

L'Os à Moelle

I regret that I didn't pay more attention to all the cafés, restaurants, boulangeries, and patisseries I've visited in Paris. The only place I thoroughly documented was L'Os à Moelle (3, Rue Vasco de Gama, Paris, France 75015 Tel : 01 45 57 27 27), and that's because I visited it at least 4 times.

I found out about this restaurant from my friend in Paris, who referred me to the NY Times review, and I also googled and found Chez Pim's review.

You have to make a reservation; this place gets packed every night. I know. I ate two nights in a row before I left France. :-)

The service is prompt while managing to make you feel unrushed, polite, and unpretentious. That alone is a luxury. L'Os à Moelle goes on to serve amazing 6 course menu dégustation every night for only 38 euros! Their menu reflects the season, which is a sure sign that they use fresh ingredients. The seafood dishes here exceeds those served in other restaurants I've visited in France.

Amuse Bouche
The amuse bouche is always a fish consummé with bits of seafood and topped with froth. This always makes me hanker for more.

Fish Consommé

Soup Course
In the Fall and Winter, the soup is usually fish based. Eat up because you won't find broth this rich in the states (at this price). The server always presents the soup dish sans liquid first and then pours the soup from a pitcher. I chose to post the soup from my Spring visit because it's visually more interesting than the dollop of crème fraîche they put on the dish for the Fall soups. There's almost always a choice of refreshing chilled soup during the Spring.

Chilled Melon Soup-with prosciutto, cantelope, and herbs

Chilled Pea Soup-with prosciutto, chives, and croutons

Salad or Seafood Course
A light course follows the soup. This is the fun course for me because the dishes change more than the other courses throughout the seasons. It can either tingle and refresh your taste buds after the consommé and soup, or it can prepare you for the meal take-off by transitioning your palate to warm, luxurious morsels of juicy seafood. ALWAYS order the Saint-Jacques if they have it.

Squid Salad and Seared Foie Gras with Asparagus

Salad with Quail and Quail Egg and Salad with Saint-Jacques

Frog's Legs and Grilled Oysters

Grilled Saint Jacques-with peas and prosciutto and Grilled Saint Jacques-with wild mushrooms

Fish Course
L'Os à Moelle reaches the climax of its dinners with this course. The fish is always firm yet tender, the qualities of fresh, well cooked fish. Chef Thierry Faucher crafts this course masterfully. Nothing overpowers the natural flavors of the fish, not even caviar sauce!

Sea Bass-with watercress purée

Some Kind of Fish-with caviar cream sauce and Roasted John Dory-with bone marrow, mashed potatoes, rosemary, and poultry sauce

Meat Course
The only quibble I have is their meat course served after the fish. Whenever I order lamb, it is always cooked to medium. I end up grinding the meat around in my mouth without any success in breaking it apart enough to swallow. The veal was cooked medium well and was too tough. The pheasant was cooked well done and was too dry. The best meat dish I've had was the roast beef, which was juicy, easily chewable, but only one thin slice.

Roast Beef-with bone marrow and diced root vegetables Lamb-with carrots and peas

Veal-with some kind of screw-shaped root vegetable and Pheasant-with truffles
The cheese course is optional, but you're in France so why not? The menu does not show the type of cheese they will serve, so it's always a surprise. All the cheeses I had were strong. Once I smelled from afar an unpleasant and strangely familiar odor. Ah, yes. Smelly tofu from the streets of Taiwan? I was embarrassed when that cheese arrived because I stunk up the neighboring tables while they were still on their soup course. The first two cheeses here are my favorites. The soily brown rind one is the best tasting cheese I ever had. Unfortunately, I forgot to write down the name of it! I never thought that I would be food blogging 2 years later!

Super Stinky Cheese on the left
The desserts here are always gentle, almost timid. Perhaps this is an ingenious maneuver to ease us back into our mundane lives. I always get depressed when I reach this part of the meal anyways, knowing that it's all over. A Pierre Hermé stunner might put me to tears.

Strawberry Rhubarb Soup and Fruit Gratin
Quenelle de Chocolat Guanja with Saffron Sauce and Feuilleté de Banane et Framboise

Tarte aux Pommes with Cheese Sorbet and Rum Raisin Cake with Boiled Grapes

Caffeine overload with une tasse de café au lait, du sucre, et du chocolat

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